Toronto Under Construction – Episode 59 with Tim Ng from Adhoc Studios and Blackline and Rob Galetta from Blackjet

TUC 59: Tim Ng from Adhoc Studios and Blackline and Rob Galetta from Blackjet

This podcast is sponsored by BCGi Baron Consulting Group Executive Search -if you enjoy the show, please support our sponsors: BCGI Website

Episode 59 of the Toronto Under Construction podcast welcomes two prominent marketing figures in the Toronto real estate industry, Tim Ng from Adhoc Studios and Blackline and Rob Galetta from Blackjet. For the first time ever, we are excited to dedicate an entire episode to discussing the marketing of new homes and condos.

Rob, Ben, and Tim

Ben kicks off the show by asking both guests to introduce themselves and share a little more about their role and the firm they work for. 

Rob is the Founder and CEO of Blackjet, a brand and business consultancy, with a group of companies that include content, retail marketing, branding, creative services, and film and photography. Rob is excited to join the episode to talk about one of his core practice areas which is place branding, and tourism and destination marketing.

Tim is the Principal and Founder of Adhoc Studios, which specializes in architectural visualizations, renderings, and animations, and Blackline is a sales engine that powers real estate developers to accelerate their sales and create efficiencies with their sales operations.

We’ve spent the last 58 episodes talking about the market and during this episode we are excited to dive into the marketing and the advertising and the content that empowers real estate projects.

Starting out, Ben reads a snippet from the Blackjet blog; “In 2009, Simon Sinek released the book ‘Start with Why’. His theory is that consumers engage with brands that stand for something above and beyond physical attributes. And that they must have a purpose beyond features and benefits. A larger reason for being. The ‘why’ that gets employees out of bed in the morning and the higher order purpose of the brand or company. He argues that without a purpose you are selling a commodity. Essentially arguing that without a purpose, you don’t have a brand.” Ben starts with Rob saying, I know you work on more than high-rise real estate, but the part of the quote that stuckout was that “without a purpose, you are selling a commodity” which many people believe is exactly what new condo developers in Toronto are selling. How do you create a brand around a single building? Tune in at 4:02 to hear Rob discuss his detest of real estate marketing and the importance of designing a brand and product around bespoke research and consumer insights.

Next, Ben reads an excerpt from’s 37 Clever Real Estate Marketing Ideas for 2023 saying, “….to generate leads, you need to increase the number of times you post per week, or even per day. In a 2021 Q&A, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri suggested posting “a couple feed posts a week and a couple stories a day.” While that might sound like a lot, it’s what the algorithm rewards. So if you want to build your social media accounts to market your personal brand, you need to start posting more.” Ben notes that social media is a big part of brand building, and asks Tim if anything has changed in the way he produces renderings and digital content to score more favourably with social media algorithms and the online crowd? Tune in at 6:51 for Tim’s response on the importance of the quality and quantity of content that is now being requested from his clients.

At 9:26, Ben asks Rob if anything has changed with trying to get leads? Rob mentions that one of his favourite things about a recession is the openness to innovation and discusses how that allows marketers and builders the opportunity to question everything and reconsider certain approaches to take new calculated risks to differentiate themselves.

As the group continues to discuss content, Ben cites another article; Understanding The Power of Real Estate Video Marketing reading that “according to a study by the National Association of Realtors, 73% of homeowners prefer working with agents who use video in their marketing efforts. Listings with video receive 403% more inquiries compared to those without video, as reported by the Australian real estate group Domain. Properties marketed with videos can receive up to 200% more views compared to listings without videos, as stated by the marketing platform HubSpot.” Ben goes on to say that this is not from the article, but worth noting that Zonda recently announced the acquisition of UTour, an on-demand, interactive self-tour experience serving the new residential construction market.This new addition to Zonda’s portfolio will fully integrate with Livabl, it’s comprehensive new home construction listings site.

Ben mentions to Rob that his website says, “We design products, culture, communications and experiences to deliver impactful messages.” Ben asks, how do you deliver an impactful message, or at least a message that generates a lead on a potential new home buyer or tenant, in the social media world we live in today, where people swipe up after 15 seconds? Tune in at 17:06 for Rob’s response. 

Ben then says to Tim, a significant amount of your business involves showing real estate in 2D, but you were one of the first to introduce interactive 3D renderings. However, the data shows that people love real estate videos and touring the actual suites. Most developers don’t have the budget to build more than one or two model suites. Ben asks Tim, what can the new home industry do to give purchasers a more authentic and real buying experience? Tune in at 19:00 for Tim’s response.

The next article Ben discusses is from Comrad Digital Marketing: Top 20 Home Builder Marketing Strategies and Ideas. Ben cites the article reading that, “75% of users do not scroll past the first page of search engine results. So, if a home builder’s website does not rank well in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, they’re at a huge disadvantage. SEO involves optimizing a website’s content, architecture, and backlinks to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results.” Ben asks Rob, is SEO still important? Are potential buyers really still finding new homes projects via a simple Google search? Tune in at 26:11 for Rob’s response.

The second part of that question, Ben mentions that he really does love the idea of cross-promotion of products, like a Gucci-designed building Lobby or a Peloton Exercise Facility. He asks Tim if he thinks these types of cross-promotions actually move the needle. Tune in at 28:44 to hear Tim discuss how branded residences are picking up across the globe. 

Next Ben wants to discuss Toronto Real Estate Tech leaders, citing a article: Meet the Toronto Real Estate Tech Leader Big Developers Love, Ben reads that, “since the onset of the pandemic, business has shot through the virtual roof for Blackline, AdHoc’s web-based sales management software. Anybody that didn’t see the benefit of the platform when we first started pitching it definitely took notice of Blackline once the pandemic hit,” says Tim Ng. Creating a growing buzz among developers throughout North America, Blackline – first launched in 2019 – allows for the sale of real estate anywhere, any time. The app consolidates all the essentials – floor plans, unit lists, and photography – in one location. Features include sales presentation management, suite reservation, real-time updates, neighbourhood exploration, analytics, floor plan comparison, customized branding, and more.” 

Turning to Tim, Ben mentions that Tim was gracious enough to show him the product, and it really is amazing. He says, Tim is sitting on a gold mine of data, but every developer wants their data to be confidential. He asks him, is there a way for you to aggregate the data in a way to create value but not upset your clients? Tune in at 35:46 for Tim’s response.

As the three jump into discussing AI, Rob makes a joke that he is replacing his staff with AI (To Rob’s Staff: IT WAS A JOKE!!!), but that leads Ben into asking Rob what he looks for when hiring a creative. Tune in at 40:17 for Rob’s hiring philosophy.

Getting back to the data question, Ben mentions that Rob leverages a lot of data in his work. He says a post on Rob’s website regarding QuadReal’s Assembly Park in Vaughan says that Blackjet “conducted qualitative and quantitative research to uncover future audiences, including shoppers, visitors and residents, and focus groups with key audience segments. Blackjet held DesignThinking panels to inspire architecture, public spaces and retail. Blackjet was able to uncover new audience segments and personify them, and ultimately to develop a positioning based on a clear opportunity to position the neighbourhood as Vaughan’s creative district.” Ben asks Rob how much of what you do is data driven, as opposed to just your gut telling you that something looks or feels cool? Tune in at 42:16 for his response: “it’s a lot more data and a lot less gut.”

Ben pulls an excerpt from LA Ads’ blog: Geeking Over Data: Recap of the Data Marketing Conference Toronto 2018, highlighting human vs artificial intelligence reading that “this topic may scare a lot of marketers into thinking that computers are taking over their industry, their jobs… but that’s not the case. Computers and humans have been working alongside each other, albeit computers a little faster. Listening to the panel at Converting Content Seminar, most speakers agreed that a blend of computer assisted technologies can go a long way in decreasing wait times and optimizing workflow, but human connection cannot be undermined, especially when tact is required. Emotion, warmth and human touch are still an important part of fostering great customer and client experiences. And that isn’t changing anytime soon.” Ben asks, how worried are you about AI and Midjourney replacing some of the things you do? Tune in at 50:35 to hear Tim discuss how AI is making them continuously level up.

Ben asks Rob the same thing, whether his firm is using AI or ChatGPT? Tune in at 52:03 to learn how Rob is leveraging the power of AI to impact his firm’s processes.

Moving on from the topic of AI, Ben mentions that there appears to be a lot of customer loyalty in terms of who developers use for the marketing and advertising efforts. He asks Rob, how do you win some of that business? Tune in at 57:37 for Rob’s response.

From customer loyalty to the topic of networking, Ben mentions that Tim has been a sponsor of City Builder Basketball for several years, and helped organize the Ballin’ Out for Charity event last year. He asks him how important do you think networking is for you in getting new clients these days? Tune in at 59:38.

Lastly, Ben ends the episode with his famous Rapid Fire questions asking things like, “Who is cooler, marketing executives or architects?”, “What’s a better place to put a real estate ad, on a bus bench or the side of a streetcar?”, “Which looks better: building renderings set in the day or set in the night?”, “Do clients request certain races or ethnicities for the people in their digital products and marketing material?”, “Do you take time to compare your renderings to the finished product?” and more!

Tune in now to episode 59 of the Toronto Under Construction podcast.

Listen Here

Follow Ben On Twitter @BenMyers29Interested in being a guest on our podcast? Send us an email.

Leave a Comment